A New Mexico Cuento for Grown-ups
by Cheryl Montoya with illustrations by Jerry Montoya
Selected as a Winner in the 2009 New Mexico Book Awards
Mescal and prize roosters simply do not mix
In this humorous tale, you'll meet Juan the Coyote, his girlfriend, Maria, and his cousin Manuelito, who writes that he will be visiting their village of Los Alamitos. Manuelito says he's coming on business, but Juan thinks there's an ulterior motive. After all, he hasn't seen his city cousin in years. And Juan, a reformed trickster — he guards sheep — wonders if Manuelito is leading an honest life. The three meet in the cantina where Maria works. Manuelito, dressed to the nines, says he sells sombreros. He's wearing a white hat over a smart pinstriped suit. The cousins get wasted on shots of mescal. Manuelito suggests, "Let's raise some hell." Juan knows better, but gives in. Their partying moves to Maria's chicken coop, where Manuelito eyes the rooster, the same prized rooster that Maria was planning to sell to raise money for her wedding to Juan. Against Juan's advice, Manuelito snatches the rooster and flees. Chasing him, Juan thinks he can fix the problem. But the rooster is dead before he can return it. Rather than reveal the surprising developments, readers should find out for themselves. Besides the issue of excessive alcoholic consumption, the inclusion of swear words in English and Spanish make this is a story for adults. There's a glossary of Spanish usage. The cautionary tale ends with the aphorism, "... sometimes chicken, sometimes feathers." That means something if you read the ending. A few misspellings and an incorrect glossary listing will slow readers, but not enough to dim the pleasure of the story told by Cheryl Montoya and illustrated by Jerry Montoya, both of Grants. -- Albuquerque Journal, September 6, 2009
"A humorous look at life experiences" -- Cibola Beacon
"Whimsical ... lightweight telling of misbehavior with a hint of the Navajo coyote-trickster making it a New Mexico piece all the way around." -- Gallup Independent
Three Dog Night is an adult cuento written by Cheryl Montoya and illustrated by Jerry Montoya. A cuento is a folk tale that is usually passed down from generation to generation. "Sometimes chickens, sometimes feathers" sums up life in New Mexico. This is the tale of Juan the Coyote, his life in Nuevo México and his love for Maria. This is not a cuento for children. The book is in full color. The book also contains a glossary of New Mexican words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Storytelling has always played an important role in Cheryl Montoya's life. She began by telling stories to her two sons. She later started telling news stories to the citizens of Grants, New Mexico, by reporting for the local newspaper. Cheryl's humor has carried her through life. Jerry Montoya, on the other hand, has been telling his own cuentos in the form of visual art. As a commercial artist and fine art painter he has always enjoyed the colorful humor of the southwest culture. Jerry Montoya is an artist in Contemporary Spanish Market in Santa Fe and is the founder of La Fiesta de Colores Cinco de Mayo event in Grants every May.
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